Morning Fuel: Mos Def - Supermagic
Let’s talk about Oh No. Oh No (sometimes known as Dr. No) doesn’t get an iota of the respect he deserves. Mostly that’s because he’s related to Madlib, but it’s unfair to judge any mortal producer next to the legendary Madlib. I would submit, however, that Oh No produces music that’s arguably more accessible than his brother. I first heard the track that forms the aggressive and hypnotic beat that backs Mos Def in Dr. No’s Oxperiment, the album where Oh No really started to stretch his creative wings. The track was called “Heavy,” and it opened an album of strange, head-nodding delights. Oh No dusted the track off again in Peanut Butter Wolf’s Zombie B-Ball War mixtape. Yes, that’s a thing, and you should listen to it. In that version, Oh No rapped over it, bringing new life to an already impressive track.
Then there was Mos Def’s The Ecstatic album. Again, the track that had been “Heavy” was the opening track, but this time it came roaring out of the gate even harder with a breathless torrent of verses from Mos Def and staccato chants of “ecstatic!” that perfectly accent the music underneath. So let no one tell you that the same instrumental can’t be recycled to even greater effect. There’s nothing wrong with recycling, and Supermagic is the best example of it. Even having heard the same backing track two times before in two other albums I played dozens of times, it still thrilled me enough to play a new album dozens more times. It’s a sign of the strength of Oh No’s skills as a producer and musician that he can create such unique-sounding and resonant tracks that always find a way to surprise you. I sure as hell have trouble listening to a Madlib track in three different contexts over and over again, so victory to Oh No on that front. Then again, I have a hard time thinking of the last time I listen to a Madlib album more than once …
Like the track? Then buy it wherever you normally do such things and support the artist. I did. Also, here’s the Morning Fuel playlist.